Wednesday, 3 October 2012
Is Breast Best?
Never one to shy away from a taboo subject, I am so riled up for this one *takes stance and holds fists up ready for pretend fistycuffs*. I watched a programe that Cherry Healey made about Breat Feeding vs Bottle Feeding last night and I was absolutely incensed!
Prepare for this statement...I never breast fed Joshua. Yup. I'm one of 'those' mothers. I never tried, I knew I would never try, never even contemplated trying for longer than 1 nano-second once or twice-but even then I blame the hormones. It just wasn't for me. There was a Magazine Editor featured on the show who received a huge backlash after writing an article saying breast feeding wasn't for her and it was "creepy". I am on her wavelength! Now "Creepy" might not be the word I would choose, for me it's verging on repulsive and 'icky'. This is NOT my opinion of mothers who breastfeed, far from it. It's just MY own feelings about ME breastfeeding, to clarify, I do NOT think mothers who breastfeed are repulsive! It's just not for me, and nor was it for her. I'm glad to know I am not the only one who chose not to breastfeed because of these feelings.
Don't pre-judge me here, I'm not one of those people who chose not to for sexual reasons, it's not that at all. It's just literally something I could not get in to 'that place' about and never will with any more children I have. Do I feel guilty that I never breastfed? No. The only time I feel a little pang of something similar to guilt is when other people try and make me feel that way.
I knew in pregnancy I wouldn't ever do it. In fact I knew long before I was pregnant, or even contemplating parenthood that I wouldn't ever breast feed. Because, as I say, personally it's not for me. It's not a whishy/washy au-fait reason that was based on laziness, it's because I actually find the thought of it really, really repulsive. I just could not do it. That's me. That's my opinion, my preference. Have I come up against people who cry shame on me? Absolutely! And yet, I don't judge them so why am I on the receiving end of some much judgement myself?
I know the statistics, I know the recommendations about children being breastfed until they are at least six months etc. I can't hide from the fact that breast milk is better for children than formula milk. But is formula milk damaging or dangerous compared to breast milk? Absolutely not! Yes there are plenty of studies to show that a child who was breastfed will have better health in childhood etc, but to me, childhood health is affected by many more factors than just milk. I don't feel that if Joshua gets ill, it's because he wasn't breastfed. It's because...he's ill! What a revelation hey?!
As for the fact that because I never breast fed my son, I love him less than a mother who did breast feed? Or the statement made by one mother on the show that she would have a closer bond with her child than I have with mine because she breast fed and I didn't? RUBBISH! Do I think my son loves me less than her child loves her? Nope! I am the centre of my sons world, I know he adores me, and I revolve around him. He's the love of my life, nothing would increase that or decrease that. It made me so insulted for another mother to pass judgement on such a life affirming love. A love that only a fellow mother knows the depths and extent of! Had I have been more a violent person (I'm not) I would have been tempted to dropkick my tv through the window at that point!! Joke!...a little!
To me breast feeding is a PERSONAL PREFERENCE! That means that we all have the freedom to chose what is right for us, to not be judged and not have our whole parenting abilities belittled because of this choice. Parenting is riddled with choices on a daily basis and not many other parenting choices affect peoples opinion of you quite as much as the whole Breast vs Bottle choice. Personal preference should give us freedom and yet sometimes it gives the opposite, I remember a baby group once where I was excluded very quickly when I mentioned I didn't breastfeed!
Do I regret not breast feeding Joshua? Nope. Will I breastfeed any future children I may be blessed enough to have? Nope. Do I waver on that? Absolutely not. I am a bottle feeder and I am not ashamed of it!